Thursday, August 30, 2007

Crying for fun and profit!

If you don't get your way, cry and throw a wobbly. This seems to be the common mode of attack for many kids at work. However, what they don't know is that all the staff have absolutely no tolerance for this, as when you let one kid get away with it, they'll all start to do it.

Allow me to provide examples. One merry Tuesday we were working in a village which is barely in the district the playschemes serves. The main road is actually called The Street, as it's the only flipping road there. We all have a theory at playschemes that every kid in the village is related to one another, with their collective father being Mr *villagename*. Some of the kids are Odd.

But anyway, we only have 12 kids so we decide not to offer separate sport and art activities like we usually do but to lump them all together. It sounds a bit mean but when you have 4 kids decide they want to do sport and the rest want to do art, the sport kids are going to struggle to have a decent game of anything.
So we start playing uni-hoc (kids are given numbers, when their number is called out they play one on one hockey with the corresponding number from the other team). Great fun, everyone loves this game! Except we have two sulkers in the corner. One is just sulking, the other one is full blown crying.
They don't want to play this. In fact, they want to go home. They haven't even given it a go. As it's the start of the day and some kids get a bit homesick, they're found another activity, but the cycle starts to repeat itself and our patience wears thin.

The cryer proceeded to throw several strops, each with different excuses as to why she wanted to go home. She was ill, she had a headache. She came up to me at lunchtime and told me that her dog was at the vets and she needed to phone home to check if he was alright. It was clearly an excuse to phone home and whine about how she didn't want to be here.

Even in the art activities she threw strops when things didn't go her way. When her clay didn't turn out right, she started to cry.
At the end of the day the deputy leader told her mum that if she didn't want to be here, it was pointless bringing her.

At another site we had a girl who cried in order to spite other people. Some girls were playing a game and then suddenly one leaves the group and sits down in a corner, crying. I ask her what's wrong and she says the other girls stole the ball off her. I ask the other girls and they seem genuinely confused, saying that was part of the game they were playing. I ask if they'll apologise anyway as the other girl seems upset. They do so and the girl continues to be in a huff.

She later asks me when one of the other playworkers will be coming back off her lunch break (she'd grown attached to her), and threw a strop when I told her it would be 15 minutes or so.
"But she said she'd be back in a MINUTE"
"It's a figure of speech. She didn't literally mean one minute. One minute to have your lunch in is a bit harsh"
"But she said in a MINUTE!"
"Have you never heard someone use the phrase in a minute? It just means an amount of time!"
A pout, followed by her storming off.

I caught her later trying to land some other girls in trouble. When I was talking to them she had a massive grin on her face, thinking I was telling them off. I confronted her about it.
"I'm just a happy person!"
"If you're such a happy person, why were you sulking earlier?"
"I wasn't sulking. I was having a tantrum!"


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I hate children

And my job has only confirmed that.
OK, that comment was a little sensationalist. I don't hate all children. On an individual basis I quite like many of the kids at work. But as a whole, children are awful. Children are like humanity filtered down to it's basic elements.
Children are curious, and they are innocent. But they are also cruel, selfish and ignorant. They are also incredibly prejudiced without even realising what a terrible thing it is.
I suppose you want some examples.

Gender values are hammered into children as soon as they can start absorbing information. Girls like Bratz, Barbie, Dora the Explorer, etc. Boys like Transformers, Star Wars, etc. There is no middle ground for a lot of them.
"You can't play football, you're a girl!" This statement, and many others like it, have made my blood boil these past few weeks. Where are they getting these ideas from?! Yes, a lot of the girls are not as interested in football as the boys, and therefore are not as good at it. But to say they CAN NOT play is just unreasonable to me.
"Euuuuuurgh, you like girls' stuff!" When said to a boy this is for some reason one of the most cutting insults there is. I have tried explaining that even though so-and-so might not actually like Barbie, there is nothing wrong with him liking it if he wants to.
*Cue puzzled look* "But he's a boy!" It went round and round like that.

You also really see the differences between the genders at this age. Young boys are awful. They won't sit still until they have run out all their energy, they play up and refuse to listen, they fight. And if there's a creative activity of any kind it always comes back round to ways of killing things. Or creatures that kill things. Or just killing. It actually seems to be an inherent male thing.
Conversely, young girls are also awful. The trick with girls is that they never SEEM to be awful. They are a lot better at the creative activities than a lot of the boys and they join in with the sports. But when it gets to play times they get nasty.
"SHE did this to me!" "So-and-so's being mean!"
They will gather in groups and giggle about each other. They will cajole others into doing their dirty work for them and send their lackeys to say things to people or attack them with play equipment. They lie to you about what others have done. They enjoy getting others into trouble. They sulk, they cry, they get in a huff about nothing.

So, summary: Boys are into causing physical pain, girls causing emotional pain

It really makes you think. If it weren't for hormones that kick in at puberty, I honestly think men and women would continue having little or nothing to do with each other for the rest of our lives.

That post seemed very negative, but I've had a terrible day today. We only had 6 kids (all boys) and they managed to drive us all absolutely crazy.

So that was gender values, next update, I shall write about crying for fun and profit!